Republican senator John Cornyn (Tx.) told Department of Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas that he should be fired for failing to stop the flow of deadly fentanyl across the southern border.
Cornyn grilled Mayorkas during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, where Mayorkas sought to downplay the scale of the border crisis and the inflow of drugs that is killing thousands of Americans each year.
Mayorkas claimed that 90 percent of fentanyl is seized at ports of entry, leading Cornyn to accuse the Biden official of using a "made-up number."
"That’s a totally made-up number," Cornyn said. "You had nearly 1 million people get away from Border Patrol…between 2022 and 2023, you have no idea how many of those people were carrying fentanyl or other drugs with them do you?"
Cornyn demanded that Mayorkas apologize to the families that have lost loved ones to fentanyl, but Mayorkas demurred.
"The scourge of fentanyl is not new. It is not something that was born in 2021. And I can provide you with tens of thousands of deaths that preceded this administration," Mayorkas said.
Republicans have accused Mayorkas of failing, or deliberately refusing, to secure the southern border, but Mayorkas has routinely blamed a "broken system" that he says the Biden administration inherited.
While the fentanyl crisis didn't start under Biden, it has gotten significantly worse, with drug overdose deaths surpassing 100,000 for the first time in 2021.
Cornyn told Mayorkas that he should be fired but acknowledged that isn't likely.
"You should be fired," Cornyn said. "But you haven't been fired because you were carrying out the policies of the Biden administration. And we've seen nothing but death and destruction as a result."
Mayorkas said he was satisfied that there is "operational control" at the southern border and shared his understanding of the term.
“So the way I define it is maximizing the resources that we have to deliver the most effective results, and we are indeed doing that.”
Mayorkas also said he was unaware that Mexican drug cartels are overwhelming the border with immigrants to wear down border agents, although border agents and Biden's own attorney general have conceded that cartels are using the strategy.
“You’ve simply lost all credibility, Mr. Secretary,” Cornyn said.
For all the drama at Tuesday's Senate hearing, Republicans are divided on whether to impeach Mayorkas.